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Ken Matthews

Full name: Kenneth Joseph "Ken" Matthews
Gender: Male
Height: 6-0.5 (185 cm)
Weight: 172 lbs (78 kg)
Born: June 21, 1934 in Birmingham, West Midlands, Great Britain
Affiliations: Royal Sutton Coldfield WC, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Gold (1 Total)


In 1959, Ken Matthews of the Sutton Coldfield Walking Club won the first of his six consecutive RWA 10 miles titles, and as he also won the 2 miles and 7 miles at the AAA Championships that year he was the British champion in all three walking events, a feat he repeated in 1961, 1963 and 1964. With victories in the Olympic Games in 1965, the European Championships in 1962 and the Lugano Cup in 1961 and 1963, Matthews won four of the five major international races in which he took part and his only failure came in the 1960 Olympic Games. Starting as one of the favorites for the 20 km. title in Rome, he made a rare error of pace judgment and failed to finish. Four years on in Tokyo Matthews was a convincing winner, finishing ahead of [Dieter Lindner] of East Germany and the Russian [Leonid Spirin], who had wont he Olympic title in 1960 and was to win a second gold medal in 1968 after Matthews had retired. Matthews, who was an electrician at Hams Hall Power Station, near Sutton Coldfield, was the only British Olympic champion in Tokyo who was not honored with an MBE at the end of the year. A campaign from within the sport to rectify this finally succeeded in 1978 and Matthews was appointed an MBE 14 years after his Olympic victory.

Personal Bests: 10kmW – 42:35.6 (1960); 20kmW – 1-28:15 (1960); Hour – 13,927 metres (8 miles, 1,154 yards) (1964).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1960 Summer 26 Roma Athletics Men's 20 kilometres Walk Great Britain GBR AC DNF
1964 Summer 30 Tokyo Athletics Men's 20 kilometres Walk Great Britain GBR 1 Gold OR

Men's 20 kilometres Walk

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1960 Summer 26 Roma Athletics Great Britain Final Standings AC DNF
1964 Summer 30 Tokyo Athletics Great Britain Final Standings 1 OR 1-29:34.0
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